CNA Staff, Jan 11, 2021 / 17:06 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The Diocese of Buffalo released thousands of clergy abuse documents and related records to abuse victims and their lawyers this week as part of an agreement in ongoing clergy abuse negotiations during its bankruptcy.
According to The Buffalo News, these records were given to victims in exchange for an agreement that pending lawsuits against individual Catholic entities such as parishes or schools are stopped from proceeding.
These abuse victims, who make up a committee of unsecured creditors in the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the diocese, have also agreed to keep the contents of the records confidential.
It is unclear if the records will ever be released to the general public, though Marci A. Hamilton, CEO and legal director of Child USA, a nonprofit which seeks to prevent child abuse, told The Buffalo News that it is likely that the victims will push for their eventual publication.
“It means a lot to them to find out what those facts are. They’re almost always primarily motivated by a desire to know the truth and to expose the truth and then to be able to see that it doesn’t happen again,” Hamilton told The Buffalo News. The Diocese of Buffalo declared bankruptcy in February 2020 after more than 250 clergy abuse lawsuits were filed against it during a one year “lookback” window opened by New York’s 2019 Child Victims Act. The window, which closes August 14, 2021, allows abuse victims to file abuse lawsuits long after their statute of limitations had ended.